Project management skills prove useful in nearly every sector and industry. Depending on the specialization, earning a bachelor's in project management prepares graduates for careers such as construction manager, health services manager, information technology manager, and project manager.
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data indicates that project management specialists earned a median annual salary of $73,570 in 2019. Construction managers, computer and information systems managers, and medical and health services managers enjoyed even higher salaries. The Project Management Institute (PMI) cites rapid global growth rates for project management education and career opportunities.
Top 10 Cheapest Online Bachelor's in Project Management
|#1||Charleston Southern University Charleston, SC|
|#2||Baker College Flint, MI|
|#3||Saint Leo University Saint Leo, FL|
|#4||University of Wisconsin-Stout Menomonie, WI|
|#5||Malone University Canton, OH|
|#6||Davenport University Grand Rapids, MI|
|#7||University of the Incarnate Word San Antonio, TX|
|#8||Minnesota State University Moorhead Moorhead, MN|
|#9||Regis University Denver, CO|
|#10||Wentworth Institute of Technology Boston, MA|
Full-time students usually complete project management degrees in four years. Accelerated program enrollees and/or students with transferable associate degrees may finish sooner. Applicants typically need to submit official transcripts with 2.5-3.0 minimum GPAs. Some programs also require SAT scores, and transfer students often need recommendation letters.
Consult the following guide to learn more about project management degrees and career paths.
What Can I Do With a Project Management Degree?
Project management involves taking a project through various stages: initiation, planning, execution, and closing. Project management focuses on non-routine operations aimed at a particular goal rather than ongoing operations or tasks. This role may involve collaboration across various organizations or even geographic regions, rather than just with an internal team.
Successful project management may require advanced skills in budgeting, time management, leadership, and teamwork. Skills in organization, communication, and stress management often prove crucial, as well. Graduates use project management skills in growing careers and industries such as engineering, information technology, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals. Some degree programs feature concentrations for niche fields, such as emergency management.
Management roles typically require at least a bachelor's degree in project management, plus relevant work experience. Some working professionals pursue this degree in preparation for a career change. Others may use it to qualify for higher salaries, promotions, or related graduate programs.
Accreditation for a Project Management Degree
Prospective students should prioritize project management programs offered at regionally accredited schools, since these institutions meet rigorous academic standards. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognizes seven regional accrediting agencies that oversee academic institutions within its region. The agencies and regions cover the U.S. states and territories.
CHEA also recognizes faith-related and career-related national accrediting agencies, which typically accredit religious and/or professional schools. Since these agencies apply lower standards than regional accreditors, regionally accredited schools do not usually accept credits or degrees earned at nationally accredited institutions. Both regionally and nationally accredited school enrollees can qualify for federal financial aid.
Good project management programs often hold additional, programmatic accreditation by the PMI Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs. Verify institutional and programmatic accreditation by consulting the Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs.
|What exactly does a project manager do?||Project managers oversee multiple stages of an endeavor, including planning, implementation, quality control, and completion.|
|How do you become a project manager?||Project managers require some combination of professional experience and education. Education may entail formal degrees, professional certifications, and on-the-job training. Bachelor's in project management graduates require fewer experience hours for certification than applicants with less education.|
|How many hours does a project manager work?||Project managers sometimes work long hours (45 hours or more per week) to meet project deadlines. Some managers may balance this intense schedule by taking time off between projects. Project management hours often depend heavily on the project, field, and industry.|
|Are project managers in demand?||The BLS projects above-average job growth of 5.9% for project management specialists during 2019-2029. PMI also notes the growing demand for project management professionals.|
What Are the Requirements for a Project Management Degree?
Freshmen applicants to project management degree programs usually need decent SAT scores and high school transcripts demonstrating 2.5-3.0 minimum GPAs. Transfer applicants submit college transcripts and recommendation letters, but may not need SAT scores. All applicants typically submit essays, and some top programs may require resumes and/or interviews.
Project management bachelor's programs typically require about 60 associate-level general education credits and 60 major-related credits in core and specialized courses. Project management coursework often entails group projects, and program enrollees must complete capstone projects to graduate.
Courses in a Project Management Program
Project management program courses cultivate personnel, time, and resource management skills. Enrollees usually complete core courses in management, leadership, accounting, and marketing, as well as specialized coursework focused on a particular industry context. Specialized courses may include health information management or global project management.
The following sampling of courses appear in many, but not all, project management bachelor's programs.
- Fundamentals of Project Management
- This core prerequisite course prepares students to improve company and organizational performance through skillful project management. This fundamentals course examines leading project management theories, frameworks, and practices. Participants acquire tools and knowledge for influencing stakeholders and overseeing project stages and processes. This course often develops team-building skills through group work.
- Contact Management
- This core course cultivates skills for acquiring project contracts in public and private sectors. Students discuss topics such as key contract elements, vendors, laws, and purchasing. Enrollees learn about private sector project budgeting, privatization, and outsourcing decisions. The course also examines public services contract procurement, public information, disputes, and comparative outcomes. Learners examine contract terms, contractual vehicles, and aligning contract administration plans with customer requirements.
- Project Quality and Leadership
- This course focuses on approaches for creating strong project teams to ensure project quality and customer satisfaction. Enrollees cultivate leadership, interpersonal, and communication skills and learn how to improve project quality. Students learn quality methodologies and principles, grade versus quality, process improvement measures, and staffing resource needs.
- Project Schedule and Cost Management
- Students attain knowledge and skills in project scheduling, budgeting, and planning. This course also focuses on value management principles, project performance measurement, and strategies for keeping the project schedule and costs on track. Participants practice creating schedule management plans, network diagrams, estimates, and schedules.
- Project Management Capstone
- Most project management bachelor's degree programs require a capstone to graduate. The project management capstone experience provides hands-on experience managing a real-life project. Enrollees use the project management framework and foundations learned during coursework to take this project through its entire lifecycle. The capstone experience often includes group work and completion of a classroom component, including project presentations. Some project management capstone experiences include a formal internship at an approved site.
Certifications and Licensure for Project Management Majors
A bachelor's degree in project management typically meets minimum degree requirements for most entry-level project management jobs. Some roles may require additional training and/or professional certification. The following professional certifications often help project management professionals obtain new skills, promotions, or salary increases.
Project Management Professional
PMI administers this top-ranked project management certification. It may prove useful to anyone participating in project completion. Prerequisites include a four-year degree, 36 months of experience leading projects, and 35 hours of project management education or certified associate in project management certification. Candidates with 60 months of experience leading projects may qualify without an undergraduate degree. PMP certification requires successful PMP examination performance.
Project Management Institute Professional in Business Analysis
The PMI-PBA certification serves project managers needing business analysis skills. This certification benefits professionals who collaborate with project teams, manage project requirements, or manage product development. The PMI-PBA certification examination comprises 200 questions over four hours. Applicants qualify with a high school diploma, 60 months' business analysis experience, and 35 contact hours of business analysis education. Candidates with bachelor's degrees only need 36 months of business analysis experience.
Program Management Professional
PgMP certification suits advanced project management professionals who manage complex projects. The PgMP exam consists of 170 questions in four hours. Candidates must meet educational and experience requirements and pass a panel review. Applicants need a high school diploma, 48 months of project management experience or PMP certification, and 84 months of program management experience over the last 15 years. Applicants possessing a four-year degree reduce the program management experience requirement to 48 months.
Professional Organizations for Project Management Majors
The four professional organizations described below provide various educational and career development resources for project management professionals. The organizations offer continuing education with online courses and certification programs. These organizations also perform advocacy, publish research, oversee professional standards and education, and run networking events. Project management students may benefit from discounted memberships.
The world leader in this field, PMI offers continuing education, mentorship, advocacy, and research. These improve the performance and enrich the lives of project, portfolio, and program managers. PMI also establishes professional standards, oversees project management accreditation, and awards top industry certifications.
This global federation of associations cultivates project management competencies and connects local organizations in regions across six continents. IPMA supports the field by facilitating networking, collaboration, continuing education, and research. IPMA also offers various awards.
AApM serves project management educators and professionals by offering online management training, seminars, and publications. AApM also establishes professional standards, accredits project management programs, and provides professional certifications.
A global leader in professional development, the AMA provides educational resources such as certifications, webinars, and training. AMA also offers white papers, skills assessments, events, and a women's leadership center.
Project management bachelor's students can defray education costs through scholarships. The following five scholarships provide a sample of the scholarship resources available to project management students.
Who Can Apply: Enrollees in undergraduate project management degree programs at accredited national or international colleges or universities may apply. Project Management Institute's Educational Foundation (PMIEF) administers this scholarship. It requires applicants to submit two references, a resume, official transcripts, and a short essay.
Amount: Up to $1,000
Who Can Apply: The International Institute for Learning, Inc. (ILL) sponsors this PMIEF scholarship. ILL awards the scholarship to high-performing project management-related majors in undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Application materials include a resume, an essay, transcripts, and references.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship goes to students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs in business-related fields. It helps students obtain their first product management job. Eligible applicants boast a 2.5 minimum GPA and submit a short essay.
Amount: $500, plus $1,495-value Certified Project Manager course
Who Can Apply: Full-time or part-time project management students or professionals may apply by completing PMIEF's application process. Required submissions include transcripts, references, an essay, and a resume.
Amount: Full tuition for project management professional training
Who Can Apply: Enrollees in undergraduate project management-related programs at accredited schools in Washington State. PMI Columbia River Basin Chapter members or their families receive precedence, and residents of the Columbia River Basin area take precedence over applicants from elsewhere in Washington.
Amount: Up to $2,000
Cheapest Online Bachelor's in Project Management Degrees 2021
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